Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

Lake Have Custom Meat Processing gets USDA approval


Lois E. Johnson

Delores Johnson and Alan and Hannah Hjelmberg, with their son, Hudson Hawk, open the new Lake Haven Custom Meat Processing building on Sunday, May 31.

At times, the new facilities for Lake Haven Custom Meat Processing were crowded during the open house on Sunday, May 31.

“We didn’t expect this many people,” one of the organizers said.

Lake Haven Custom Meat Processing received its Federal Grant of Inspection early in May. It began processing beef, pork, sheep and goats under the USDA Inspected Slaughter on June 1. The company also processes buffalo and elk.

"Lake Haven is the name of the Johnson farm," explained Delores Johnson. Her father-in-law, John L. Johnson, came to the farm near Lake Eleven in Windemere Township in 1894 with his family when he was 10 months old.

Son Archie Johnson took over the farm when his father retired.

“The Johnsons have processed their own meat since the early 1900s,” said Delores, Archie’s widow. “After Archie took over the farm in 2001, he had an auction for the rest of the farm equipment and cattle, and started the meat processing business.”

Archie died in 2008. His grandson Alan Hjelmberg and his wife, Hannah, took over the farm and the meat processing business.

The business grew under Archie’s guidance. It continued to grow after Alan and Hannah took over.

“They have done a wonderful job,” said Delores. “They more than tripled the business.”

With new facilities and the USDA designation, Alan and Hannah are looking forward to the future of more growth.

“We were at the point at home where we were turning business away,” said Alan in an interview at the open house. “We received a Value Added Grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and, with that, we were able to get financing through the bank.”

Alan went on to explain that construction began on the new building late last July. The building was complete and put into use in January.

“We were operating under our state license until now,” Alan added. “This facility has obtained its Federal Grant of Inspection. Now we are one of three USDA meat processing facilities in the state. The closest one is in Cannon Falls. There is another one in Foley.”

Alan explained why the USDA designation is important.

“There is a need in the area,” he said. “It’s a huge thing for people, especially farmers, not to have to go to Cannon Falls. It will save gas and time for them."

The business does not have meat for retail sale.

“We will look at having retail sale of meat in the future,” said Alan, “but that is not available now. We can put people in touch with someone, such as a farmer, that they can purchase meat from that is processed here.”

Alan said to begin with, they and their staff are going to try to process 10 animals a week.

"Full capacity is 22-26 animals a week," Alan said.

Lake Haven Custom Meat Processing is located on Lake Haven Farm at 92850 Military Road, Sturgeon Lake. Call (218) 372-8300 for more information or email Visit the website at


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